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Pap Vs. Jim In Huckleberry Finn

640 words - 3 pages

A father is usually the person who an adolescent boy learns from and looks up to. Huckleberry Finn is a boy who, from the very start, lacks an appropriate father figure. There are two older males in the novel that are closely related to Huck: Pap, his biological father, who is an incurable drunk, and Jim, who is a black slave belonging to the widow and her sister, with whom Huck lived. These males attempt to lead Huck down two very different paths, in the end, Jim acts as a foil to Pap and proves to be a better father figure.
There are more contrasts than comparisons between Pap and Jim. Neither is very well educated or respected due to their position in the town, one being the village drunkard and the other being a mere Negro. They both know that they are inferior in the eyes of society, however, Pap feels that simply because he is a white man, he deserves higher consideration than some others in the town who are educated but former slaves. Jim accepts that he is a slave, but employs his wits to play on the superstitions of others and make himself more important, such as using the story about being ridden by witches that he progressively elaborates on to extract respect from the others of his status. Other than that, there is not much resemblance between the two in situation or attitude.
The first contrast between Jim and Pap is the initial reaction Huck has when encountering them. When Huck is on Jackson’s Island, presumably alone, but then comes across a smoldering fire, he is at first frightened, but once he sees that the other refugee is Jim, he pops right out of the bushes and greets him. He is glad for his company. However, when signs of Pap being around are apparent,...

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